First Look At The Airflo Super Stik MK2 Fly Rod

Fishtec team member Gareth Wilson has been testing a new rod on several stillwater trout fisheries this winter. Read on to find out how he fared with the new Airflo Super Stik MK2 fly rod.

Late in 2017 I was handed a rod to test. It was the follow on for the original Super Stik and one I was keen to put through its paces. Immediately I was impressed with the great cosmetics and the high standards that the MKII has been built to. The addition of a composite/cork handle has increased grip and the olive finish creates a great looking rod at an even better price.

The all new Airflo Super Stik Mk2 fly rod

The all new Airflo Super Stik Mk2 fly rod

However, a good-looking rod is of little use if it cannot perform on the water. For our first test we took the rod to Lechlade Trout Fisheries. With the goal of seeing how the rod would handle double figure fish. We set up as usual with the Airflo Super-Dri 6ft Mini Tip in a weight forward 7 and single fly. Lures would be the choice for a chilly day in December and some of my home tied flies would prove deadly.

I started off with a Chartreuse Hot Head Tadpole and started fan casting on the top end of the lake casting to rising fish. As I cast into the wind and to a rise close to the island I gave a few quick strips to get in contact with the fly and entice any fish feeding in the area to follow before returning to a slow figure eight. Half way through the retrieve I paused before quickly speeding up the retrieve and bang, fish on! The fight was incredible taking me back and forth along the bank. I had never felt a stocked fish fight this hard and the bend in the rod reminded me of a wild welsh sewin, doing what he wanted and refusing to turn in the direction I wanted. After an incredible fight we finally landed the beast.

A nice double put a serious bend in the rod!

A nice Lechlade double put a serious bend in the rod!

This was the start of a good day. We switched to the incredible cat (my own cat’s whisker variant) and cast out. After a few aborted follows I slowed the retrieve right down, just keeping in touch with the fly. This retrieve bought on a savage take from a smaller fish of about 6lb. After a short aerial performance in which the rod absorbed every jump and lunge the fish came to the net. We finished the day with our 6 fish and the rod handled extremely well especially considering the average size of fish was 10lb.

Another one bites the dust.

Another one bites the dust.

First impressions of the rod where great. With it’s smooth progressive mid-tip  action and responsive feel it looked like a great rod for buzzer and nymph fishing. With this in mind, a trip to Ellerdine was arranged. The goal of today would be to test out a team of buzzers and bloodworms and we how the rod would cope with multiple small flies and a slightly smaller but more energetic size of fish. I set up with an 18ft G3 Fluorocarbon leader and a team of 3 flies with 6 ft separating each from the other. The goal when fishing this kind of approach is to let the wind do the work for you barely moving the flies, only retrieving to keep in touch with them.

It wasn’t long before we had our first fish. A lovely 2lbs Ellerdine rainbow. This was followed by another 2 trout in quick succession. I then switched to my Black Mamba V2 lure. This fly is fitted with a Guideline salmon disc, which imparts a wobble but also hinders casting aerodynamics. The rod coped with this fly extremely well, with superior presentation.

The black mamba V2 fly

The black mamba V2 fly

First cast along the bank and a few tail nips later I decided to speed up the retrieve. I cast beside an overhanging tree and began to strip and almost instantly had a take from a beautiful brown trout. This fish, although small, was a nice addition and was very silver for a brown. I finished the day with another 6 fish and the rod had shown no signs of weakness.

As a third and final test I decided to use the rod while boat fishing. With all the usual big reservoirs closed, my attention turned to the smaller Gludy Lake. A stunning fishery set in the Brecon countryside with catch and release being the only form of fishing on offer. This leads to some truly stunning fully finned fish that put up an incredible fight. Its clear waters meant that a stealthy approach would have to be taken and the electric boats on site are perfect for this.

The Airflo Super Stik mk2 on test

The Airflo Super Stik mk2 on test on Gludy lake.

On the day we were met with a stubborn easterly wind and temperatures that rarely got above freezing. After assessing the situation, the Airflo Forty Plus Fast Intermediate was the correct choice for the conditions as getting your flies to the cruising level of the fish is incredibly important early season.

The fly that seemed to be getting all the interested was a Shaggy Damsel. Within 30 minutes of putting the fly on I had many takes and pulls and landed 2 silver rainbows, both around the 2lb mark.

We drifted in front of the house situated on the lake and cast into the weed. Suddenly, I had a ferocious take. It bored deep. I thought it may have been one of the brownies that grow on and become incredibly difficult to tempt. The fish started towing the boat taking us out into the deeper water. As he surfaced and turned to go on another run the blue flanks were clear to see, the brown was in fact a big blue trout. After seeing the size of the fish, I gave it respect and if it wanted to go on another run, I let it. After landing the special fish, I was happy with a new PB blue trout of 4.3lbs and with full fins and a perfect tail. This bright blue fish will be one I will remember for some time.

A nice gludy blue

A nice Gludy blue.

To sum it up, the Airflo Super Stik Mk 2 is a cosmetically pleasing upgrade from it’s predecessor and is more than capable of handling fish of all sizes whilst casting extremely well. The progressive action is user friendly and provides brilliant presentation of a variety of fly sizes and types. The perfect stillwater trout fishing rod in my opinion.

Gareth tested the 10′ #6/7 model. Airflo Super Stik Mk2 fly rods are available April 2018. Each rod is supplied with a quality cordura case and a FREE Airflo Super-Dri fly line. For more info click here.

Introducing the TF Gear Airbomb – The Future of Baiting!

We are excited to announce a brand new product from TF Gear! It’s called the Airbomb and it’s a mid-air bait distribution product that we feel is going to be a game changer.

How does it work?

Unlike a Spomb or the Fox equivalent, Total Fishing Gear’s Airbomb does not open upon impacting the water. Instead it opens in mid air, spraying the bait out in a wider pattern that is perfect for creating a nice bed of bait. It works by hitting the reel clip on the cast. This triggers a pin that opens Airbomb. The force of the cast disperses the bait in a forward arc, several yards beyond the cast. Should you not hit the clip (or choose not to) the Airbomb will land in the water and remain shut. You can trigger it to open anytime you wish by yanking your rod tip sharply.

The Airbomb from TF Gear

The Airbomb from TF Gear.

What are the advantages over other baiting products

There are multiple advantages, but the main one would be you can create a uniform spread of bait that you can build up quickly. Carp find this extremely attractive, and importantly will feed confidently. Other baiting rockets and baitboats cannot spread the bait as widely when they release their payloads, making the Airbomb unique.

Airbomb creates a unique spread of bait

Airbomb creates a unique spread of bait.

What can it do?

Quite a lot. And there are probably a lot more things that haven’t been thought of yet!

  • Airbomb releases payload in mid-air, creating a shotgun effect bait spread
  • Stealthy no spook baiting operation – Airbomb falls well away from baited area
  • Aerodynamic design maximises casting range
  • Total accuracy every cast
  • Massive load capacity
  • Easy and quick to fill
  • Create vast beds of bait with speed and efficiently
  • Precision bait by drawing over weed gaps and localised feeding spots then jerking rod tip to open
  • No spillage or wasted bait
  • Suitable for all carp fishing baits including boilies, particles and floaters
  • Buoyant and effortless to retrieve
  • Heavy-duty and robust construction – will withstand extreme casting
  • Spreads bait forward in a scattered pattern well beyond the reach of your cast
  • Bait up far margins, snags or islands with no risk of losing Airbomb
  • Confuses nuisance birds and bait eating pests
  • Perfect for floater fishing – release floating baits with no risk of spooking carp

Check out the official video:

When can I buy one?

Airbombs are available to pre-order now, although physical stock will not be here until late March. You will be able to order here. Please note, the first batch is a limited stock delivery, so demand will be extremely high. Therefore we cannot guarantee your back order will be fulfilled from the first stock delivery.

Airbomb can be used with any carp fishing bait

Airbomb can be used with any carp fishing bait.

Airflo Fly Dri Rucksack Review

Kieron Jenkins of Fulling Mill needed a portable fishing bag that was tough, reliable and totally waterproof for his fishing gear and camera. Here, he reviews the solution to his problem – the FlyDri back pack from Airflo.

The Fly Dri Rucksack from Airflo

The Fly Dri Rucksack from Airflo.

If you’re like me and fish a myriad of venues from small-waters to rivers with the occasional saltwater trip, you need a back pack which is not only big enough to take the necessities for the day, but tough enough to take anything the elements can throw at it. After much research and trawling the web, the obvious choice was the Airflo Flydri 30lt roll top back pack.

For me, one of the major factors in choosing this particular back pack was the price. The Flydri back pack incorporates features that are on par with other fishing brands, as well as being better than half the price…

100% Waterproof

The weather here in the U.K can be temperamental and getting caught in heavy downpours is a regular thing, and as a regular article contributor for various blogs and magazines I often carry a fair amount of camera equipment, it’s essential that the equipment stays dry. The Flydri back pack features a high frequency weld, boasting a unique seamless construction and a 2-way roll top sealing system which is 100% waterproof. This allows the pack to be submerged for a considerable amount of time without any leaks, perfect for those anglers prone to falling in! The roll top construction also ensures a fully air-tight seal, great for keeping out dust, sand and dirt, but also allowing the bag to float if accidentally dropped overboard.

The Airflo fly Dri back pack in action

The Airflo Fly Dri back pack in action

30lt Capacity with additional storage

The Airflo Flydri back pack has a 30lt capacity, which is more than enough to take a flask, waterproof jacket, a box of spare flies and a sandwich box. The back pack also features three exterior mesh pockets, one zip mesh pocket that features a bungee webbing (perfect for holding a fleece or buff that may be needed quickly). Adding to the functionality, a further interior pocket is ideal for storing car keys, cash or fishing permits.

Comfort, Safety and Support

To make your days on the water more comfortable, the Flydri back pack features padded shoulder straps with lumbar support, giving as much comfort as possible when carrying heavy loads. For extra support the waist and sternum straps are fully adjustable, I find these extremely useful when lugging lots of fishing tackle considerable distances. The back pack also features two reflective strips on the front and both shoulder straps, perfect for safety at night.

Additional features

When fishing from the shore on small-waters or along the coast, I tend to move frequently to new locations. The Flydri bag has multiple D-rings along the top and front panel that are perfect for attaching items such as net magnets, forceps or additional carabiner clips.

For those of you who may be in the market for a new back pack for fishing, I fully recommend taking a serious look at the Airflo Flydri 30lt Back Pack. Compared with other ‘fishing brand’ waterproof back packs that are more than double in price, the Flydri should certainly be top of your considerations.

Airflo Defender Clothing Review By Robbie Winram

Well known independent fly fishing tackle expert and Anglian Water employee Robbie Winram reviews the Defender waterproof clothing from Airflo – a range designed to combat the worst possible weather conditions.

There are three main elements to the new Defender clothing range: a wading jacket, three-quarter jacket and trousers, all at £69.99 each. They are made from a two-layer durable Taslan nylon shell fabric with reinforced ripstop nylon on the high wear areas such as the seat and knees of the trousers and across the shoulders, tops of the arms and the hoods on the jackets.

The fabric also has a DWR finish so water just beads off the outside, and all the garments are windproof, waterproof and breathable. The jackets have a polyester mesh lining except for the sleeves, which are lined with a smooth polyester fabric. The trousers have a polyester mesh lining from the waist to the knees and then the smooth fabric down to the ankles.

Wading jacket

The wading jacket has a single full-length zip with a double stormflap: one has a rain gutter and the other folds over the top and secures with four Velcro closures and a metal popper stud both top and bottom. The zip tucks into a neat fleece-lined chinguard to prevent chafing.

The nice high collar is fleece-lined and the fixed hood can be rolled up and held in place with a large tab and Velcro closure. The hood has a stiffened wired peak and an elasticated cord and toggle lock adjustment around the face and on the back of the head to give a really good fit.

The sleeves have an articulated shape for ease of movement when casting and end in a simple, lightly elasticated cuff with a Velcro closure. There are two pockets on the chest with large stormflaps and Velcro closures. These pockets are elasticated at the top and expand generously to take a good-sized fly box. There is also a fabric tab and D-ring under each stormflap for tool and accessory attachment. On the front of these pockets are small flat accessory pockets with water-resistant zips. Behind each cargo pocket is a handwarmer pocket, lined one side with micro fleece, and there is also a single zipped security pocket.

On the back of the jacket is a full-width zipped cargo pocket with protective stormflap. Additional features include a large D-ring on the back of the neck and an elasticated cord and toggle lock adjuster around the bottom hem.

The three-quarter jacket has the same design features as the
wading version, but is longer and has a different pocket configuration and an extra waist drawcord.

The Defender clothing combo

The Defender clothing combo.

Comfortable trousers

The trousers have a nice high back for extra protection from the elements, and partly-elasticated sections each side of the waist for comfort.

They also have belt loops and an elasticated and adjustable webbing belt with a quick release bayonet fitting. There is a simple zip fly opening with a protective stormflap, and a metal popper stud at the top.

The legs have a slightly articulated cut for good range of movement and expandable gusseted ankle cuffs with side zips and Velcro tabs and fasteners.

Two hip pocket feature a water-resistant zip, while the two thigh pockets have stormflaps and Velcro fasteners.


The Defender jackets and trousers will keep out the wind and rain, and offer good breathability considering they have that extra polyester mesh lining. This lining also provides a bit of extra warmth on colder days. I liked the well-fitting hood and nice warm fleece collar. Excellent value for money, especially if you take advantage of Airflo’s special offer – buy any jacket and trousers for £119.99 and get the Airflo Defender fleece free.

Originally published in the December 2017 issue of Trout Fisherman Magazine, we have re-produced this review with their kind permission.

You can check out the Airflo Defender range of fly fishing clothing here.

A Beginner’s Guide to Fish Care

Releasing your quarry unharmed is one of the most important things any angler can learn. Dominic Garnett shares essential tips to help you safely catch and release your fish so that they’re ready to do battle another day!

Fish_Care_ - 2

If a fish has fought hard, you may need to support it in the water until it gets its breath back
Image source: Dom Garnett

While it’s great to learn all about rigs, methods and tactics for big fish, one of the most important aspects of modern angling is one of the least written about. Handling and releasing your catch safely should be one of the first things an angler learns; sadly it’s not always the case.

Why do we release fish in the first place? It’s simple. To preserve our sport. If we took our catch home every time we went fishing, we would soon run out. That’s the reality of living on a small island country with lots of anglers and only so many fish to catch! A fish that is dead cannot give another angler pleasure. It cannot grow bigger or, crucially, breed and produce more fish. Furthermore, there is a deep satisfaction in returning a fish safely, knowing it will live to fight not just another day, but possibly many years.

Preparation and essential equipment


Featured product: the new Leeda Rogue Carp Unhooking Cradle from Fishtec is just £39.99

Besides the right gear, good fish care is all about anticipation and being prepared. Do you know where your forceps or scales are at a moment’s notice? Is your tackle strong enough, and have you earmarked a safe place to land a fish in advance?

Having the right gear is another must. Two of the most commonly neglected pieces of equipment are the correct unhooking tools (a pair of pliers is no good) and the right landing net (a generous sized net of soft mesh). A large, quality landing net also doubles as a good investment for retaining fish in the water for short periods. Last but not least, nobody fishing for carp, pike or other larger species should be without an unhooking mat or cradle – and many clubs and fisheries won’t let you fish without one.

Many anglers also debarb hooks or use barbless patterns these days too. In 90% of situations, barbless is best. The possible exception is with large fish, the argument being that a barbless can move around and cut more during a long fight. In this situation, I believe a “bumped” hook is best (i.e. one where the profile of the barb has been reduced by pliers, but there is still a slight “bump”). This stops the hook moving around during the fight, but can still be removed without any tearing.

12 golden rules of fish care

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The right way to pose for a quick picture; low to the ground and with a mat underneath
Image source: Dom Garnett

When it comes to safely handling and releasing fish, there are a few golden rules. Advance knowledge and preparation are key here; the time to wonder about best practice is not when a fish is kicking on the bank! Here are some of the universal rules of responsible catch and release angling:

Always handle fish with wet hands: This avoids removing their protective slime. NEVER use a towel. You will notice fish behave much better if you have wet hands (think about it – they have come from somewhere cold and wet, while your paws are dry and warm!)

Always have the right tools: You should never fish without the means to extract a hook. For small fish, a disgorger is the answer and for larger species, forceps are better. If you fish for pike, these should be a minimum of 12” long. Buy quality and always pack a spare set (they are easy to lose on the bank and lots of companies make the damned things green or dull coloured!)

Use sensible tackle: A totally knackered fish is a fish in danger. Try not to play your quarry to exhaustion, but be as quick as reasonably possible. Large fish like carp, pike and barbel need strong gear. If the fish has fought like fury, you could give it a few seconds to rest in the water before you handle it.

Handle fish carefully and as little as possible: The less faff the better here. The more handling, the more slime you remove and the more risk.

Be prepared: Have your unhooking equipment, camera and other essentials ready and close to hand at all times.

Keep time out of water to a minimum: If you want to weigh a fish or take a picture, you can always keep it immersed using your landing net (or perhaps in a carp sack briefly) while you set up the shot and zero your scales. Avoid keeping your catch out of water for more than is absolutely necessary.

Use the right net: Landing nets are often essential for all but the smallest fish. Avoid small nets and harsh mesh materials (modern rubberized mesh is excellent). A large net can also be used to briefly retain your catch in the water to let it recover or give it a breather if you want to take a picture.

Never stand up or walk around while holding a big fish: A fish dropped from standing height is often a dead one; it may swim off, but you will have damaged its internal organs. Instead, kneel with it over the mat or the water for safety. And use your net to carry fish back to the water, lowering gently back.

Handle with care (cradle, don’t clench): A fish is a living thing, not a bragging item. Hold it as you would a little baby, not some macho trophy. If it’s really heavy, supporting closer to your body is safer than thrusting out to the camera. Try to “cradle” a large fish, and avoid clenching or squeezing around the throat area because this is where many of the vital organs are.

Weigh safely and keep your catch wet: The easiest way to weigh a fish is in the net, and then deduct the weight of your net later. Make sure the fish is lying “flush” (i.e. evenly in the bottom of the net with no fins trapped) before lifting the scales. Specimen hunters often prefer a sling. If you use one of these, make sure it’s well doused with water.

Lower, don’t drop: Although non-anglers will ask if you’re going to “throw” it back, this is not something a caring angler would ever do. Every fish should be lowered back into the water if humanly possible. If the spot is awkward and this is impossible, use your net to lower the fish back safely.

Support if necessary: Sometimes fish will swim off strongly right away. Other times they may be tired and need some help. If a fish has battled hard, never just let go of it right away. Hold it upright in the water for a few seconds to let it recover (this could be a few minutes for some fish).

First aid for fish

Last but not least, some anglers go even further with fish care, especially for carp, by applying a little first aid. Products such as Klinik can disinfect any nicks from hooks or scale damage, assisting recovery. Gel-based products are the most effective, as they stick to the target.

Another tip for those who need to retain a net of small to medium fish for photography is to use a little clove oil mixed with water and douse the fish; it is a natural anesthetic and calms them down. In fact, Environment Agency staff have been known to use it in fish surveys to de-stress fish.

Pike and other special cases…

Fish_Care_ -08

The right way to do it: cradle and support your catch , avoid dry hands or clenching at the throat.
Image source: Dom Garnett

Another important point to make in our guide is that not all fish are created as tough as each other. Carp, the most cared for of the lot, are tough as old boots (obviously this is still no reason not to treat them with total respect!)

Grayling, trout and others can be very brittle though, and need extra care. Pike are perhaps the most misunderstood and fragile fish of all, in spite of their fierce appearances. For a thorough guide to pike unhooking and handling, it’s well worth checking out the Pike Angler’s Club’s code of safe practice.

What about sea fish and stocked trout?

While coarse anglers are very much at the forefront of catch and release, a lot of sea and game anglers are now just as passionate about fish welfare. Indeed, if you’re not going to eat it, why on earth wouldn’t you want it to go back unharmed?

Most coarse fish, and indeed many wild game fish, are protected by law these days and removing them is a criminal offence. However, with some stocked trout, as well as sea fish above a set of minimum size limits, you may choose (or be obliged) to take the fish.

We would strongly advise returning slow-growing and precious fish such as salmon and bass, even if you may legally take them. But if you must kill, do it quickly and humanely – a “priest” is the tool to do it, with a short sharp blow to the skull on the top of the head.

How else can we make sure fish go back safely?

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We all have a responsibility to protect our fish stock
Image source: Dom Garnett

Feelings can run quite high when it comes to catch and release practice these days. Facebook pictures of fish handled with towels or without an unhooking mat in sight quickly attract a barrage of critical and angry comments.

While we all want to see responsible fishing, there should be no place for abuse. We can learn from each other and often those targeted by angry comments on social media are just inexperienced, rather than deliberately cruel. Don’t immediately castigate those who show poor practice – the last way to make anyone listen and learn is to start a fight with them. Be helpful and friendly, and remember you were once inexperienced too.

There are of course other cases where anglers know the rules but are still negligent or even criminal – and we can and should help to protect our waters. On the vast majority of coarse fisheries, taking fish is illegal and you should report any poachers or law-breakers to the Environment Agency hotline. The number is 0800 80 70 60 – have it stored on your phone!

We all have a part to play in protecting the sport. It might seem ironic, but the folks who want to stick a hook in fish are usually also their greatest protectors. We will inevitably cause fish some brief stress, but with modern barbless hooks and careful handling, virtually every fish we catch will swim off happily and continue to thrive. I should know. There are several times when I’ve re-captured the same fish years later, bigger and in rude health. What a great feeling!

Read more from our blogger…
A weekly Angling Times columnist, Dom Garnett is also a South West fishing guide and author of several books, including the Amazon Bestseller Flyfishing for Coarse Fish, Canal Fishing and his recent book of angling tales Crooked Lines. Read more at

Thoughts on the Airflo Super Stik Fly Rod: Review by Gareth Wilson

In this long term tackle review Fishtec’s Gareth Wilson shares his thoughts on the Airflo Super Stik fly rod – after spending a full season in action with it on the bank!

As both a stillwater and migratory species river fly fisher having one rod to cover both aspects of my fishing allows me to cut down on gear and travel light. However, finding a rod that can deal with the challenge of wrestling with big salmon and hard fighting sea trout while not being overkill on stocked fish is quite challenging.

One on the Super Stik from Ellerdine lakes

One on the Super Stik from Ellerdine lakes

Early this season I purchased a 10′ #7/8 Airflo Super Stik, for primarily for sea trout fishing with large stillwaters and boat angling being an added bonus if the rod was up to the task. The early season saw us visiting Garnffrwd, The Usk Reservoir, Ellerdine and Llyn Cllywedog with the average fish being 2 and a half pound but some special fish amongst them including a 12.8lb tiger trout and a few double figure rainbows.

The rod handled perfectly. It could turn over a team of flies with great presentation and also pump bigger lures into the wind with no problem. The middle to tip action on the rod is great for achieving big distances with ease, especially when used with Airflo’s Forty Plus intermediates and Super Dri sink tip lines.

Between May and October the focus switched to the river fishing with sea trout being my true passion. Sewin (Welsh for Sea trout) are In my opinion the hardest fighting fresh water fish we have in the UK.

It wasn’t long before a real bend was put in the rod with my farther in law landing this double figure sewin on the Super Stik. The rod played the fish perfectly absorbing every leap and run the sea trout had to offer and it wasn’t long before she was netted and released safely.

On our next trip it was my turn with three sewin caught. The night started with a 4lb hen fish who wanted to stay deep and kept trying to get under the bank. The next fish almost in the same location was a 6.7lbs male. He was all fight exploding out of the water around 3 ft in the air before boring deep running down the pool and taking me almost to the backing – before changing direction and swimming straight back towards me. I kept in contact and again he came leaping out and crashing back down. After landing this fish I knew this rod was a winner!

A Sewin on the Super Stik

A Sewin on the Super Stik

The winter period sees me returning to stillwater fly fishing. Here being able to cast a great distance can be a massive advantage. You can cover fish that have been pushed out by other anglers and for the bigger fish holding deep. The Airflo Super Stick is perfect for casting extreme distances. It loads extremely efficiently and easily with modern day fly lines and you’ll find you can get incredible distances with ease. The cost of this rod is incredible  value and it handles better than other rods I have tried at more than triple its cost.

This is a perfect bit of kit for the all-rounder and will handle small dries, teams of 3 or 4 flies and big sea trout and salmon flies alike. A real bargain and a rod you won’t regret purchasing.

Stop Press: For a limited time period Airflo Super Stik Rods are now just £99.99!! Check out the Super Stik rod range here.

Most wanted fishing gifts this Christmas

Fishing Christmas Gifts

Fishing gifts for Christmas
Image source: Dasytnik

For anglers who want an instant Christmas wish list or for non-anglers looking to buy a gift for a fishing enthusiast – we have the answer.

We asked our fishing community what gifts they most wanted this Christmas and we had over 1,000 responses. The results are below and there’s a gift for a variety of budgets and fishing styles. Here is the definitive Christmas gift list for people who love fishing:

Carp and coarse fishing Christmas gifts

There’s an abundance of carp and coarse fishing gear to choose from but here’s the most wanted this Christmas:


Fly fishing Christmas gifts

Here’s a selection of gadgets, garments and gear our fly fishing fraternity want the most:


Sea fishing Christmas gifts

The most wanted sea fishing gifts are perhaps predictably very practical:

Shopping for something specific? Browse our full range of fishing tackle online or give us a call on 0871 911 7001.

Want 15% off your order from 17th to Midnight 19th November??? Then shop through this LINK!

Which Sinkant? Leader Sink Treatments for Fly Fishing

Getting your leader material to sink is very important for a number of reasons when fly fishing. In this blog post we take a closer look at popular fly fishing leader sink treatments and why you need them.

Fly fishing de-greasers on test

Fly fishing de-greasers on test.

Why use sinkant?

Firstly, if your tippet floats on the surface film it is far more visible to the fish – especially if the lake surface is calm or if you are fishing small dry flies to selective fish on the river. A floating leader can also hinder the descent rate of your flies – not good if you want to fish a team of super glue buzzers deep, or unweighted wet flies for example.

Leader material, whether Co-polymer or Fluorocarbon often has a glossy, shiny finish that can potentially spook trout – more so in bright conditions. Many leader treatments have the added benefit of taking the shine off the leader, therefore making your tippet less obvious to the fish.

Do I need to de-grease fluorocarbon?

Fluorocarbon sinks faster than nylon or co-polymer due to its higher density, so once it is actually under the surface it will sink quickly. However it can be hard to get fluorocarbon to break through the surface tension – this is due to it’s inherent stiffness, shininess and oily, slick finish fresh off the factory spooling machines. Fine diameter fluorocarbon is particularly prone to staying put in the surface meniscus unless it is de-greased thoroughly.

Furthermore fluorocarbon is almost inert and does not absorb any water or dirt whilst fishing to help it sink. (Unlike mono or co-poly). Therefore de-greasing fluorocarbon regularly is required if you want to consistently cut through the surface film in technical situations at the surface.

The Options?

We took our most popular tippet de-greaser compounds and did a ‘bucket test’ on each one using both co-polymer and fluorocarbon. A two foot length was cut off, treated, then dropped into the water. We noted how quickly the leader material sank, and made a few observations of their properties.

Leader bucket test

Leader bucket test.

1. Orvis Mud leader Sinkant – £3.25

Mud has been around for a long, long time. It has quite a nicely textured feel and seems to be a bit firmer in it’s formula than it was years ago. We found it clung to the line very well and sank the tippets on our test immediately. It took a lot of the shine off, but needed a couple of applications on the fluorocarbon. The tub it is supplied with is very handy and can be attached to your vest easily. A downside is the fairly high cost. Overall excellent stuff.

2. Gerkes Xink fly fishing treatment – £6.99

We found Xink to be a bit of an oddity. It was hard to get just a moderate quantity out of the bottle and it left a nasty slick on the fingers. Smeared liberally on the leader line and dropped into the water it left a greasy slick and the tippet still floating high! No amount of persuasion would get it under. Xink can be applied to flies easily and even fly lines (e.g slow intermediates that refuse to sink) so perhaps we were missing something? But for treating your leader it was next to useless.

3. Dick Walkers Ledasink – £1.59

An ever popular treatment, Ledasink was formulated by the late, great Dick Walker. It stuck to the leader very well due to its tacky consistency and lasted a long time before needing to de-grease again. It also dulled the finish of the material in our tests well. It looked and performed exactly like the Orvis mud – it is probably the same stuff. A very good product.

4. Airflo Tippet De-greaser – £2.50

Supplied in a square tub, quantity is more generous than the others. The Airflo formula seemed to be a little coarser in texture than the others and not quite as smooth. We found this removed the shine from the tippet material very readily, even more so than Ledasink. It was not quite as sticky on the finger, but clung to the leader just as well as Orvis mud. Decent value for money.

On the bottom

Tippet material – well sunk!

A Beginner’s Guide to Feeder Fishing

Excellent for a huge variety of bottom-grazing fish, the swim feeder is a useful tool for any keen coarse angler to master. Dom Garnett’s handy guide to feeder fishing is packed with useful tips, rig diagrams and years of practical knowledge that he’s picked up on the bank from other legendary anglers…


Choose the correct swim feeder for the conditions.
Image source: Dominic Garnett

In the evolution of coarse fishing, the swim feeder has to be one of the all-time greatest angling gadgets. In a nutshell, the feeder attracts fish to your hook, helping you to land real net-fillers like bream, tench and carp.

But what exactly is a swim feeder (often shortened to just “feeder”)? The original swim feeder was simply a plastic capsule filled with holes, designed to release free bait down near the fish as efficiently as possible. Feeders are also used to overcome challenges such as ugly weather and deep or distant swims, where throwing in bait accurately or fishing a float are impossible.

Let’s start our guide by looking at the basic types of swimfeeder and what they are designed for.

Basic types of Swim Feeder 

The Maggot Feeder

Maggot_Feeders_Kamasan (1)

Maggot feeder

Ah, the good old “plastic pig”. These come in various sizes and designs, but all do the same job: they release free live bait on a sixpence, right next to the maggots on your hook. Sometimes also called a ‘blockend feeder,’ the ends are blocked up to prevent the grubs escaping too early. Still mighty effective after all these years.

The Open End or Groundbait Feeder


Open-end feeders. Be sure to balance your rod and tackle with the feeder size

These feeders are ideal for accurately introducing groundbait into your swim. You simply squeeze your crumb mix in place and cast out. They come in various designs and sizes, from great big beasts that will hold in a current, to miniature models suitable for more cautious winter fishing.

The Cage Feeder


Larger holes release bait quickly creating an attractive cloud for shallow swims.
Featured product: Korum cage feeders from Fishtec.

Quite simply, this is a groundbait feeder with bigger holes. When would you use it? Well, there are times when it is an advantage to release your free bait more quickly, rather than hard on the bottom. This feeder will do just that, creating an attractive cloud to draw the fish in. Ideal for shallower swims and summer fishing, these work beautifully with mashed bread as well as crumb type groundbait.

The Method Feeder


This can be lethal for most larger bottom grazers.
Featured product: The method feeder from Fishtec.

An ingenious development, this feeder works quite differently to the others. The flatbed design is fixed in place rather than running freely on the line. Simply shape your sticky groundbait (look for a special “method mix” or add an egg or two to render your usual favourite crumb stickier) around your Method feeder. Then you can either bury your hook bait inside or let the hook sit just an inch or two away from the mix. The fish attack the feeder to dislodge the food, unwittingly pick up your bait and tend to hook themselves. It’s a fairly foolproof way of fishing; in fact the only thing that can go wrong is your rod getting pulled into the lake if you’re not right on it.

Further specialised feeders…

The feeders we’ve covered so far are more than enough to keep you busy. However, if you’ve got the bug and want to try some more, there are a few others that are worth a mention.

The pellet feeder is mainly used for commercial fisheries and offers a perfect little scoop of pellets to the fish. The banjo feeder, named because of its shape, is similarly designed to accurately present a tidy little nugget of freebies with your hookbait right in amongst it. Some of these feeders are elasticated, which helps cushion the impact of carp takes, which can be quite savage.


Featured product: The Guru Pellet Feeder from Fishtec is spot on for commercial carp and F1s.

And finally – the biggest brutes of the lot – specimen or specialist feeders. These cater for more extreme scenarios, like when you want to deliver a much bigger payload and leave it there for longer periods. They’re also good for big rivers and fast currents. A three or four ounce model that clings flat to the bottom is just what the doctor ordered. You’ll need to make sure you’ve got the right rod and tackle to cope with one of these though – correctly balancing your rod, line, feeder and hook size is the holy grail of feeder fishing.

Feeder fishing tackle

Once you have a rough idea of the type of feeder that will suit your favourite venue, you’ll need to decide which rod and tackle to use. Sadly there isn’t one rod that will do the lot, although most of your feeder fishing will be with a quiver tip rod – the one with the brightly coloured tip section to help spot the bites when you’re legering (fishing right on the bottom with something weighty like a lead or feeder, as opposed to float fishing). Here are some of your options.

The light feeder or “picker” rod

At the lighter end of the spectrum there are some neat little rods of 7-10ft with nice fine tips. These are spot on for shorter range fishing, on both commercial pools and natural venues. You’d typically match one with a smallish reel loaded with 3-5lb line for roach, chub or bream fishing, and perhaps slightly heavier line for carp and tench. If you want to flick a feeder out 20 yards with perfect accuracy, this is the puppy. Sadly, with the modern stranglehold of carp fisheries, this style of rod is getting harder to find- so be prepared to look around.

Medium/all round feeder rod


Featured product: The Shimano Forcemaster from Fishtec would fit into the all-round category and covers a lot of bases for less than £40

Next up, we have a longer all rounder. This could be a fair bit longer, say 12 or 13ft, if you’re aiming for the horizon on a big lake or river. Lighter models are ideal for classic species like roach, bream and chub. They work well with lines of 4-6lbs and a good range of feeders, excepting the very heaviest.

Heavy or method feeder rod

If you’re going to smash out a beefy method feeder or an extra large helping of groundbait, this is the rod for you. It can cast weights that would smash lighter tips, not to mention coping with those savage bites you get from carp as they bolt against the weight of a feeder.

You wouldn’t think twice about combining one of these with a bigger reel loaded with lines from 8-10lbs. Heck, if you’re casting big payloads a long way, you may want a shock leader – a thicker last few yards of line to handle the strain of casting big weights without the dreaded crack-off (not a city in Poland but that horrible moment when your line breaks on the cast.)

Which quiver tip?


A typical quiver tip; this one has an isotope added for night fishing.
Image source:
Dominic Garnett.

Just to confuse things even more, most quiver tip or feeder rods come with a selection of interchangeable tips. Like a full rod, they often have a test curve rating, in ounces. Obviously the higher the number, the stiffer the tip is. Use your common sense to pick the right one: a flat calm lake and shy biting fish would call for a slender, highly sensitive tip. A powerful river and heavy feeder would call for something much stiffer.

Feeder rigs

Running feeder, longer hook-link


Image source: Fishtec

Best suited for: Traditional species (roach, dace, bream, tench) and weedy/ clear waters.

For fish that don’t always charge off with the bait, a longer, finer hook-link is the way to fish. This could be as little as a foot to 18” (30-45cm) over a clean bottom. But if fish are shy or the water is weedy, a longer hook-link up to 4 feet helps the bait settle delicately without digging into the bottom. Sometimes using a longer link and bait like bread will earn you extra bites while the bait sinks through the water too.

Semi-fixed feeder, short hook-link


Image source: Fishtec

Best suited for: Bigger fish that tend to hook themselves (carp, tench, bream, barbel.) Commercial fisheries & carp lakes.

This is the modern, more typical way to fish on stocked fisheries or natural waters with a good head of bigger fish. To maximize this effect, try a really short hook-link (as little as 2-3”!) Hair-rigging gives the best presentation and hook-up rates, and with a big feeder, heavier line and a bait such as double boilie, this type of rig can also work for larger carp.

Warning! Is your rig safe?

Please beware. This rig comes with two dangers: the rod getting pulled in, or dodgy setups leading to breaks and tethered fish. This is why we call this a “semi” fixed rig. Most modern feeders have a sleeve that will snugly lock your hook-link in place via a swivel. Secure enough to hook fish, this makes the feeder easy to dislodge for a fish should you break off!

The ‘in-between’ rig (running feeder, fairly short hook-link)


Image source: Fishtec

Of course, we can make good general rules, but there are always exceptions. Some specialist roach anglers use a heavy feeder and short hooklink for distance fishing, just as canny carp anglers will try a longer trace for spooky carp that have wised-up to the classic heavy weight and short hooklink combo.

I was shown this rig by legendary specimen angler Bob James, and it has seldom let me down. It’s dead simple, provided you get the proportions right, and is simply brilliant for barbel, tench and all the bigger species. It’s not as crude as a method-type rig, allowing fish to move off a little more with the hookbait. It tends to work a little like a “bolt rig” – a common set up where the fish feels the weight, “bolts” and hooks itself.

The combination of double mini-boilie and small specimen hook is extremely effective – often far better than standard specimen rigs. I believe this is because smaller hooks, such as a 10 or a 12, penetrate with far less force than a carp-sized hook such as a heavy gauge 4 to 8. I’m not sure why, but two smaller boilies often work better than one big one, too.

There are many more specialised feeder rigs you might also try, once you’ve got the hang of it. The helicopter rig is good for tangle-free long range fishing. Heck, some anglers have even used floating feeders, or used a pole to drop a method feeder in the margins for carp. I’m not going to dictate how it’s done; but I would recommend getting familiar with the basics before going too crazy.

Practical tips

Cast accurately, cast often

The whole aim of fishing the feeder is to attract the fish to your hookbait. Two things are really important. The first is to recast on a regular basis to build up the feed and draw the fish in. It’s no use casting out and doing nothing for hours; the fish will just lose interest. Keep recasting at least every five to ten minutes.

The other vital thing to remember is accuracy. If you send free bait in here there and everywhere, the fish will disperse rather than gather in one spot. By all means, try the odd cast on the edge of your feed area. Sometimes the bigger fish are cagier and don’t muscle right into the thick of it. But my best advice is to line up with a marker on the far bank and concentrate on casting repeatedly to the same area. See our tips section below for more advice here.


A nice bag of fish on the feeder in wretched conditions! With heavy wind and rain, it would have been impossible to float fish.

How to spot bites on the feeder

We’ve already looked at quiver tips, which, as the name suggests, will shudder and twitch as you get interest from the fish. But when should you strike? In my experience it’s best to avoid the tiny little shivers and shudders; these are just nibbles and fish that are testing the bait. Instead wait for the tip to pull round a little further, or to pull forward and hold.

The truth is that you should play it by ear. One day, say when fishing for roach and skimmers, you might hit quite gentle bites and find success. However, if there are big bream or tench in the swim, it’s usually best to follow the classic advice and “sit on your hands” until the tip whacks right round. A lot of the earlier shudders and taps will just be fish disturbing the feeder and brushing the line.

Of course, if you use a semi-fixed rig or shorter hooklength, there is often no need whatsoever to strike! Just stay vigilant, ignore the smaller taps and be ready to pick up the rod when a fish hooks itself. You can’t really miss it – and don’t leave your rod unattended or you’ll feel a right plank if it gets dragged into the lake.

Top 10 Feeder Fishing Tips

  1. Stay vigilant and hang on to your rod. Get in a comfortable position so you’re ready to pick up the rod in a flash (try resting the butt of the rod in your lap).
  1. Always bait the hook first, then fill up your plastic when using a maggot feeder. Otherwise you’ll have maggots falling into your lap as you bait the hook.
  1. Get into a routine of casting accurately and often (you could even set a stopwatch!). Each time you send the feeder out, you are in effect ringing the dinner bell again. Active anglers catch more than the lazy brigade!
  1. Do you suffer from tangles on the cast? If so there are two things you could try. One is the loop rig. Another answer is to use a little anti-tangle sleeve. These slip over any small swivel and help keep everything straight and tangle-free.
  1. Use a snaplink so you can change feeders through the session. This way you can go heavier if the wind picks up, for example, or perhaps switch to a smaller model or a straight lead if you want to cut back on the free feed.

A nice barbel on the feeder; a two ounce model was needed on this occasion to tackle a wide river swim with a strong current.
Image source: Dominic Garnett.

  1. Try the feeder for carp and barbel in place of the usual leads. It could save you a fortune on PVA bags and is often the better method, because it encourages you to keep casting and attracting fish, rather than just plonking a rig out and waiting.
  1. Your reel’s line clip is the easiest way to keep hitting the same mark with the feeder. If big carp are about this could be a bad idea though… you could try tying a marker with braid or whipping silk to keep track of the distance instead.
  1. A bit of DIY can be handy for improving your feeders. You could make the holes bigger, or tape them up for a slower release of bait. You could also add extra weight. Tinker as you see fit.
  1. So far we have not discussed when NOT to use a feeder. At close range, or in shallow water it could be the wrong method- especially when the fish might be easily spooked.
  1. Last but not least, don’t assume swim feeders are only for general coarse fishing. Virtually every fish likes free food, right? Bigger feeders are also good for sea and pike fishing. Think outside the box (or should that be feeder?) and the results can be brilliant.

For a quick, simple and visual guide to feeder fishing use our infographic below:

More from our blogger…

Dominic Garnett’s books include Canal Fishing: A Practical Guide and his recent collection of fishing tales Crooked Lines. Find them along with his regular blog at or as Kindle e-books via

Airflo Airlite V2 Fly Rod Review

Airflo Airlite v2 rod reviewThe Airflo Airlite rod series has made a return for this season and while the original rod was a three-piece, it is now a more versatile and compact four-piece model. Now called the V2 it is available in six models: a 9ft 5wt and 8wt, 9ft 6in 7wt, 10ft in 6wt, 7wt and 8wt, and prices range from £259.99 to £279.99.

On test was the 10ft 7wt, specifically designed for stillwater work and which Airflo say is a “great all-rounder”, capable of handling everything from floating lines to fast sinkers.

This new model has a well contoured, full wells cork handle, slimmer than the original, and it feels very comfortable and also lighter in the hand.

Starting off with a 7wt floater, I lifted an initial short length of line from the water that loaded the rod relatively smoothly. As I lifted longer lengths of line the casting action became even sweeter – this blank is really happy at handling medium to long head lengths.

It is a powerful rod in that it has a fast action, but at the same time is still user-friendly being smooth  and easy to cast. It has a wickedly fast tip recovery so I could generate a lot of line speed, producing tight loops and great delivery. This really pays off when you are working with multi-droppered long leaders where full turnover is all important so the flies can start fishing straight away.

I found the rod was as proficient at fishing dries and emergers with reasonably light leaders and tippets, as it was twiddling nymphs at depth.

Moving on to a range of sunk line options from sink tips to intermediates the blank handled them in a very similar fashion to the floating line. When it came to medium sinkers (Di-3) to fast sinkers (Di-7) I did feel the rod loading and flexing a little deeper but it was still very adept at working these denser lines.

When playing fish I found the rod did flex a lot deeper than I’d thought it would considering its reasonably fast action, but this really helps in protecting tippet and leader and in turning and playing the fish with a lot more feel.

There are two rod weights either side of this 7wt: the 10ft 6wt is designed for top of the water work and lighter tippets and the 8wt, which Airflo describe as “the beast”, would suit competition anglers who like to pull sunk lines.


I liked the lightweight blank, the matt finish, the self-centering reel seat and most of all the rod’s performance and the way it can handle a full range of fly-lines from floaters to fast sinkers.

Article reproduced with kind permission of Trout Fisherman Magazine.